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NKU plays host to talented Green Bay in regionally televised Horizon League clash on Thursday night

By Don Owen
NKyTribune reporter

Now in sole possession of first place in the Horizon League, Northern Kentucky University has an opportunity at home this week to possibly increase its advantage in the standings.

NKU plays host to Green Bay at 7 p.m. Thursday night at BB&T Arena in the first of a two-game homestand. Milwaukee visits BB&T Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Thursday’s game against Green Bay will be televised regionally on FOX Sports Ohio.

NKU’s Tyler Sharpe is second on the team in scoring (14.3 points per game) and has made at least two 3-pointers in 15 games this season. (Photo by Jeff McCurry)

NKU is 16-4 overall, 6-1 in the Horizon League, after posting an 82-74 win at Youngstown State on Saturday. The Norse have also won eight of their past nine games. Green Bay enters Thursday with a 10-10 overall record, 4-3 in the Horizon League.

The Phoenix are tied for fourth place in the standings, but sit just one game behind both second-place Oakland (5-2) and Detroit Mercy (5-2). While NKU is at home this week, both Oakland and Detroit Mercy face two-game road trips with contests at IUPUI and Illinois-Chicago.

Drew McDonald poured in 15 of his 23 points in the second half Saturday as NKU defeated Youngstown State in the Beeghly Center. Jalen Tate and Tyler Sharpe each added 13 points as the Norse extended their winning streak to four.

McDonald averages 19.1 points and a Horizon League-leading 10.2 rebounds per game. The former Newport Central Catholic standout has 10 double-doubles this season, and 44 during his NKU career. In his last 27 games against Horizon League opponents, McDonald has posted a double-double 18 times.

McDonald is also one of five active players in Division I basketball with at least 1,800 career points (1,812) and 900 career boards (966).

Tate averages 13.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Sharpe is second on the team in scoring (14.3 points per game) and has made at least two 3-pointers in 15 games this season.

Green Bay features the best offense in the Horizon League at 84.9 points per game. The Phoenix, though, are 10th in defense, surrendering 83 points per contest. NKU is second in offense at 79.5 ppg, and the Norse lead the Horizon League in scoring defense at 67.3 ppg.

Sandy Cohen III paces a trio of Phoenix scoring in double digits with 17.2 points per game. He also leads Green Bay in rebounding (6.4 rpg) and assists (4.8 apg). JayQuan McCloud averages 14.8 points per game, and ShanQuan Hemphill contributes 11.6 ppg.

NKU swept both games from Green Bay last season and has won three straight against the Phoenix. The all-time series between the two programs is tied at 3-3.

Since the start of the 2016-17 season, NKU is 36-11 against Horizon League competition — the best of any league school against the rest of the conference.

Thursday, Jan. 24
BB&T Arena (9,400), Highland Heights, Ky.
Green Bay (10-10 Overall, 4-3 HL) at NKU (16-4, 6-1 HL), 7 p.m.
NKU Radio: FOXSports 1360 (1360 AM)
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Series Record: Tied, 3-3
Last Meeting: NKU 86, UWGB 80 (Feb. 10, 2018)

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One Comment

  1. Roger Auge II says:

    Go Norse. Looks like, if you play well, you can topple talented Green Bay. They might be pretty good, but then so are you.

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